Lum: Variations on a reality theme |

Lum: Variations on a reality theme

The last night before the election, I was engulfed in a sudden dread that Donald Trump would actually win the presidency of the United States.

All along, I had seen his candidacy as an entertaining joke and had thoroughly enjoyed seeing the GOP suddenly realize that the joke was on them, but then the dread said, “What if the joke is on all of us?”

I know that the numbers look good for Clinton and I know I always get these last-minute dreads. I know I’m probably influenced by the high-pitched begging emails I’m getting from the Democratic Party, telling me that if I don’t donate $5 the election will go to Trump.

Surely, though, the country has more sense than to put this windbag (Trump, let there be no confusion) in the driver’s seat. It was only because the Republicans put up over a dozen meatballs who were so lame they made Trump look good.

He is outrageous. It’s part of our nature to be drawn to the outrageous. He has made and lost fortunes, has dared to brag about cheating the IRS with its own twisted rules and to suggest that women belong in the kitchen with all their reproductive parts intact and those who think that society as we know it is going to hell in a transsexual handbag secretly (or not) nod in agreement.

He attacks our governmental process, the Obama haters, the Mexicans, the refugees, the halt and the lame and pretty soon there’s enough hate to go around for everybody if hate is where we want to go as a nation that used to welcome the tired and poor.

Do the haters outnumber the lovers? Will this be the November surprise?

I’d put money on Trump losing, but who knows. And how I despise writing a column and I’m the only one who doesn’t know the ending. Enough with the dread. Hillary is going to win, sta-stomp.

A weird twist is that Trump was in on the ground floor of the reality TV shows that have swept the country and have contributed to our national attitude about the traits of the people we admire.

In “The Apprentice” TV series, Trump played the decisive tycoon who, one by one, humiliated and fired aspiring contestants until only one was left worthy of being his employee.

The spin-offs of this idea continue, with hit shows such as “Survivor,” “The Shark,” “Big Brother” and “Hell’s Kitchen” dominating the airwaves.

“Hell’s Kitchen” is a show I enjoy, but damn. Gordon Ramsay, the host and chef, curses, berates, mortifies, smashes food with his fist and, in each episode, “fires” the weakest link in the chain of wannabes. Watching it, I thought, “He sounds a lot like Trump.”

Our reality shows are becoming our reality.

We admire the subterfuge and clever blindsiding as each survivor gets thrown off the island, out of the house, out of the kitchen, under the bus.

Let us hope that Trump will have to go directly to jail without collecting his $200, rather than being elected ringmaster of the ultimate game show.

Su Lum is a longtime local who would like to see a Clinton landslide. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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